Web hosting provides a secure place to store online content. The code, images, videos, and text that comprise a website all have to be stored somewhere. When you type in a web address on the web browser, it starts to search for the particular website on the server where it is located. And then, the web browser fetches website files and HTML code from that server and formats it to a pleasing web page and displays on the browser window. Without a stable digital repository, none of us could consistently access content on the web. That makes hosting one of the most critical parts of developing an online presence for anyone, from huge companies to small-scale personal accounts.
There are ways for you to create your own web servers with your PC, but the costs of self-hosting may actually be higher compared to a dedicated facility and provider. That’s why most users rely on a third-party service that can guarantee certain features and services on a 24/7 basis. Enterprise companies may choose to host their own website to keep everything on site, with a significant investment in servers and manpower. This makes sense for large corporations. For small- to medium-sized business, though, third-party web-hosting providers are a much more budget-friendly route. Benefits include continuous accessibility for users, more robust security against hackers, routine maintenance, and technical support for you when unexpected issues crop up.
For most users, a third-party hosting service helps you avoid the hassle and risk of a home server. Setting up your own hosting can be time-consuming, expensive, and leaves your work more vulnerable if you can’t maintain good security and upkeep. Most hosting services offer their own comprehensive support via email or telephone after you report an error. They also streamline many of the incidental services you’d expect, including visitor metrics and interface support. Pro users may enjoy the control and manageability of a home setup, but it isn’t for everyone.
Third-party hosting services shift the burden of setup and maintenance away from the user, and they do this in many different ways. Let’s quickly explore some of the different types of web hosting available:
Web hosting providers usually offer more than one plan for each type of hosting. For instance, here at Hostinger, our shared web hosting services come with three different hosting plans. This type of hosting is the most common answer for most web hosting needs and it’s an excellent solution for most small businesses and personal blogs. With this type of hosting, you’re sharing one server with other clients. Websites hosted on the same server share all its resources, such as memory, computing power, disk space, and others.
- Low cost, excellent for small online business websites
- No need for specific technical knowledge
- Pre-configured server options
- User-friendly control panel — hPanel
- Maintenance and server administration is taken cared for you
- Little or no control over server configuration
- Traffic surges on other websites can slow down your website
When you’re using a Virtual Private Server — or VPS for short — you’re still sharing a server with other users. However, your web host allocates an entirely separate partition for you on that server. This means you get a dedicated server space and a reserved amount of resources and memory. In fact, VPS hosting can be great for medium-sized businesses with a rapidly growing number of websites and traffic.
- Dedicated server space
- Traffic surges on other websites have no effect on your performance
- Root access to the server
- Easy scalability and high customizability
- More expensive than other types of hosting
- Technical and server management knowledge is a must
Cloud hosting is currently the most reliable solution on the market. With cloud hosting, your host provides you with a cluster of servers — your files and resources are replicated on each server. When one of the cloud servers is busy or encounters a problem, your traffic is automatically routed to another server in the cluster. This results in little to no downtime, which is excellent if you own a very busy website.
- Little to no downtime
- Server failures have no effect on your website
- Allocates resources on demand
- Pay-as-you-pricing strategy — you only pay for what you use
- More scalable than other web hosting types
- Hard to estimate the actual costs
- Root access is not always provided
WordPress hosting is a particular form of shared hosting, created for WordPress site owners. Your server is configured specifically for WordPress and your site comes with pre-installed plugins for crucial tasks, such as caching and security.
Because of the highly optimized configuration, your site loads much faster and runs with fewer problems. WordPress hosting plans frequently include additional WordPress-related features, such as pre-designed WordPress themes, drag-and-drop page builders, and specific developer tools.
- Low cost and beginner-friendly
- One-click WordPress installation
- Good performance for WordPress sites
- Customer support team trained in WordPress issues
- Pre-installed WordPress plugins and themes
- Recommended only for WordPress sites, which can be a problem if you want to host more than one website on your server
Dedicated hosting means that you have your own physical server that’s dedicated solely to your website. Therefore, you’re given incredible flexibility over how you want to manage your website. You can configure your server as you wish, choose the operating system and software you want to use, and set up the whole hosting environment according to your own needs. In fact, renting a dedicated server is just as powerful as owning your own on-site server, but comes with the professional support of your web host. Usually, this is more oriented towards large online businesses that deal with heavy traffic.
- Full control over server configuration
- High reliability and security options
- Root access to your server
- High cost, more oriented towards larger businesses
- Technical and server management knowledge is a must
What’s the Difference Between Web Hosting and a Domain Name?
Besides signing up for a web hosting service, you also need to purchase a domain name. While web hosting allows you to rent server space for your site, the domain name acts as an address of your site.
When your users want to check out your site, they type the domain name into their browser’s address bar and your server transfers the content they requested for.
With most web hosts, you need to purchase your domain name separately. Or, if you already own a domain, you can also transfer it to your current hosting provider. Similarly to web hosting plans, you need to pay for your domain name annually in order to keep the ownership of the domain.
Overall, web hosting is a type of service you need if you want to publish a website and build an online presence. In fact, having a website gives you incredible advantages by enabling you to easily reach millions of users worldwide.
So, are you ready to get started with your new website?